Tonsil stones are also known as tonsilliths, formed in the crevices or at the back of our tonsils. These tonsil stones are formed when food particles, bacteria, or other matter accumulate in the tonsils. However, tonsil stones can easily be treated, and more importantly, one can easily prevent tonsil stones by taking the proper steps.
What are Tonsils?
Tonsils are soft tissue calcifications near the pharynx primarily responsible for preventing germs from entering the system. Several germs enter through our mouth or nose daily, and tonsils work as block systems, helping the body’s immune system. They not only stop the germs from entering but also can kill them due to white blood cells in the tonsils.
However, tonsil stones are formed when these germs get trapped in the tonsils. As aforementioned, one can prevent tonsil stones by maintaining an appropriate body, specifically mouth hygiene. This will be explored further in the article.
Tonsils are covered by mucosa and are also made of tissues that are similar to the ones found in the lymph nodes of the body. A healthy tonsil looks pink in colour, and its texture can vary from smooth to bumpy, from person to person.
Risks of Tonsil Stones
Tonsil crypts are holes or pockets that naturally occur in an individual. An average adult has anywhere from 10 to 15 or sometimes even more tonsil crypts in the tonsil. These crypts are vulnerable to trapping bacteria that could lead to tonsil stones. Individuals with more crypts of the tonsils are more likely to be affected by tonsil stones. Hence, if one needs to prevent tonsil stones, one must understand the tonsil structure and take appropriate steps to maintain its hygiene.
So, the structure of your tonsils can predispose you to develop tonsil stones. Secondly, poor oral hygiene. Remember, even food particles can be trapped in the crypts. Hence, keep your mouth free from food particles after completing your meal.
While one cannot do much concerning the structure of the tonsils, one can definitely prevent tonsil stones by maintaining proper oral health.
8 Symptoms of Tonsil Stones
Check out the following symptoms of tonsil stones:
1. Sore throat pain
2. Bad breath
3. White or yellow particles in the saliva
4. Extreme difficulty in swallowing
5. Development of other throat infections
7. An ache in the ear
8. Uncomfortable sensations in the throat
How are Tonsil Stones Diagnosed?
The examination of tonsil stones is very simple. The healthcare provider will take small scans or tests to detect the presence of tonsil stones. Here are a few ways it could be diagnosed:
1. Physical Exam
Your doctor might simply look into your mouth with the help of a mirror and torch to detect tonsil stones. Some tonsil stones might be invisible to the naked eye, but the doctor can see other symptoms of tonsil stones that could prove the same.
2. MRI Scan
An MRI is nothing but a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of the body. This technique has been used in diagnosing many other disorders or diseases due to its accuracy and quality of the image. An MRI scan can also be conducted to look at the condition of your tonsils.
3. CT Scans
A CT scan, an abbreviation of computerized tomography, will also be used to get images of the tonsils. This test will provide a set of X-rays from varied angles that will reveal the presence of tonsil stones developed as the tonsils trap bacteria.
However, the real question is how one can prevent tonsil stones in the first place.
How to Prevent Tonsil Stones?
There are multiple ways to prevent tonsil stones. Here are a few ways one can do it.
1. Oral Hygiene
Brush your teeth regularly to prevent tonsil stones. Maintain good teeth health by flossing and gargling. This will not only prevent tonsil stones but also help your oral hygiene. Regular brushing will help you remove bacteria.
You can also invest in antibacterial mouthwash, tongue scraper, or other medically reviewed oral hygiene tools to take care of your health.
Patients attending oral hygiene during tonsil stones have better chances of recovering from it.
2. Salt Water Gargling
Another way to prevent tonsil stones is by doing a salt water rinse for your mouth. Using salt water for gargling has several benefits. Firstly, it can reduce bacteria, and secondly, it can prevent your body’s mouth from having bad breath.
So as you floss regularly, and brush your teeth regularly, be sure to gargle your mouth as well. It is even better if done with warm salt water.
3. Avoid Smoking
Smoking, in general, can harm your body in many ways. But did you also know that smoking can lead to the formation of tonsil stones as well? So, one must avoid smoking if one needs to prevent tonsil stones.
4. Hydrate Yourself
Keep consuming a good amount of water. These methods will holistically also help in your overall hygiene and health.
Treatment for Tonsil Stones
If you have not been able to prevent tonsil stones, then you need not worry. Tonsil stones can be cured easily. Here are a few treatment methods doctors use to relieve an individual from tonsil stones.
1. Laser Tonsil Cryptolysis
Lasers are used in this method targeting the crypts that have accumulated the stones. This is often performed in the presence of local anaesthesia, and one can quickly recover from this method. This method has minimal risk. It is also not painful. Hence it is a good option for most when they cannot prevent tonsil stones in the first place.
One can simply use antibiotics to treat and prevent tonsil stones. These antibacterials work on the bacteria in the tonsils that are responsible for the development of tonsil stones.
Antibiotics, however, aren’t very effective as they only temporarily kill the bacteria. Bacteria might develop again, and the individual might have to use antibiotics again. This means that this could be long-term and unending.
Hence, the person must take antibiotics to treat the existing bacteria. Still, it is also essential to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent bacteria accumulation.
3. Coblation Cryptolysis
Another method to remove tonsil stones is coblation cryptolysis. This method involves using radio waves sent via a saline solution that leads to the production of activated ions. These ions then act as lasers that can tear or cut the targetted tissues in the tonsils. There is no sensation of burning here. Hence it is another good choice as it laser tonsil cryptanalysis. However, it is always best to try and prevent tonsil stones from staying away from medical complications.
As a last resort, the doctors may use tonsillectomy, which means the removal of the tonsils themselves. This method is used when all other methods mentioned above fail to treat. This is used in severe conditions where no other option will provide relief.
This method should be used when the presence of tonsil stones is causing extreme persistent pain, where there is great difficulty in breathing and significant discomfort and pain. Naturally, doctors try to resolve the problem with other methods, but this can also be done to protect the individual.
Removing tonsils might cause mild or moderate pain, but it goes away in a week. There certainly are specific post-surgery effects that you will experience.
Is Tonsillectomy Painful?
Firstly, you may experience moderate pain in your ears, jaw, or neck. Do not worry about this; they are typical to have during healing. Secondly, you may also experience swelling in the throat or your tongue. In such scenarios, kindly inform your doctor, as he will give medications or other treatments to rectify it.
You might feel a sense of discomfort in your throat, as you may feel like something is stuck or blocking your throat. Some significant side effects could be vomiting, nausea, and bleeding. In such situations, it is advised to stay at the hospital for a longer time, under the supervision of the doctors, until you have healed enough.
Like with any other surgery, you may also be vulnerable to certain infections in rare cases. So just after surgery, be keen on what steps you take to recover post-surgery fully. Take your doctor’s advice seriously, and do the needful.
Many of them wonder if removing the tonsils has any side effects. We must remember that though tonsils are a part of our immune system, our body will not lose the ability to fight against germs or other diseases. Our entire immune system is not dependent on tonsils, so your body will still function greatly.
Tonsil Infection can be cured through surgical removal. One must practice good oral hygiene to avoid tonsil stones. To prevent tonsil stones, one must also focus on having a good immune system. Tonsil stones may be very uncomfortable, but treatment at the right time will help you escape complications.
Yes, tonsil stones can be treated, but as we have already seen, it is better to prevent tonsil stones by maintaining good oral and overall hygiene to avoid throat complications. If you see any tonsil stones, kindly visit your doctor and treat them under an expert’s supervision.